“If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on PR.” Those are the famous words of one of the greatest business minds, Bill Gates.
So, why would he make such a bold statement? As PR practitioners, we would say that it is because he has seen the transformative power of public relations.
Think about it this way. If someone says product X is fantastic. And, the next minute, you see an advertisement endorsing the same product. Which one between the two are you more likely to believe?
Like Bill Gates, we can place our last dollar on a bet that you would choose the endorsement. And, you are not alone.
Here is what research has to say. People are 4 times more likely to buy a product based on referrals. A business can achieve up to 37 percent retention rates for customers acquired through referrals.
This article explores how franchise owners can leverage the power of PR to get more leads. If you are in the business, you will want to read this.
1. Events are mining grounds for leads
Franchise brands will typically hold a Franchise Discovery Day. The benefits are numerous. They get the opportunity to meet potential franchisees and sell their business concept. Depending on the outcome of the discussion, they can enter into new partnerships.
Franchise events like trade shows, discovery days, and conferences are a mining ground for leads. The people who attend have an actual interest in the business. They just need that final nudge to get into the partnership.
The franchise brands can also leverage speaking engagements at different events. Expand your horizons outside of the industry-specific ones. Cast your net wide, and see what fish you catch. An IT-related event could have some attendees who would be interested in franchising.
2. Maximize on the power of media
The media can play a key role in generating leads for franchise brands. The trick is to know how to create good relationships with them.
Now, here are a few things to note about the media. Editors and journalists have a job to do. And that is to run newsworthy stories. That means they are always looking for sources of information.
The nature of the franchise business means you are always in the know. You have access to tons of content that could earn your company some great media placement.
There are simple ways to create relationships with the media. These are:
- Start by identifying media personalities who cover your industry. It could be a healthy mix of business, news, or lifestyle media. It just depends on the line of business you are in.
- Send newsworthy content in the form of press releases, opinions, or research findings.
- Set up informal meet and greet sessions to get to know the media better.
- Invite them to company events that may be worth covering. These include stakeholder or investor business briefings.
- Join platforms like Help a Journalist out (HARO).
The more you establish a relationship, the more the media will turn to you for stories, interviews, commentaries, opinion pieces, and so on.
When you become an industry leader, the public and potential franchisees will take notice. What a fantastic way to get leads without spending tons of cash.
3. Ramp up online activities
The online space provides tons of opportunities for PR activities. These include:
- Social media where the franchise brand can actively engage with potential franchisees.
- Sharing authority, newsworthy articles through blog posts, research findings, white papers, and newsletters
- Email marketing that allows for segmentation and targeted marketing.
- Link building opportunities to increase brand awareness
- Optimized landing pages to collect leads
- User-generated content (UGC) provides an opportunity for better engagement and interaction with audiences.
- Partnerships with influencers to endorse the brand. The trick is to get an influencer whose niche is in your area. That means their audiences will find more relevance in what they have to say about your franchise business.
The online space provides tons of avenues without biting into the company’s budget. There is a lot of flexibility for the franchise marketing team. On top of that, there is no cost implication or restriction in, for instance, having different posts every single day.
The company can change content anytime they wish. And, you can reach a broad audience base to spread information about the company. That means the chances of increasing brand awareness are huge with an online platform.
Developing a strong PR strategy for the online space is therefore critical. It is all about maintaining relevance with the intent to provide. Consistency and high engagement levels with audiences can result in fantastic leads for the franchise.
4. The important role of corporate social responsibility
Franchise brands cannot ignore the necessity of corporate social responsibility (CSR). It is important to give back to the community within which you ply your trade. It can lead to tons of positive feelings thus better relationships.
Remember our point on endorsements earlier on? Imagine a whole community saying positive things about your company. And it will not only be in conversations. Some of them will take to the online space to spread the word about the good deeds you do.
And here is the best part, CSR does not have to be an expensive venture. The company can run mentorship programs in partnership with schools or colleges. If not, it could participate in community cleanups or volunteer time to worthy causes.
With budget allowing, the company can make donations, offer scholarships, or even participate in fundraising events. A strong community process is a sure way to get target audiences. Franchisees would want to build an association with such a company.
Franchise brands have tons of opportunities to leverage PR to their advantage. We have looked at some excellent strategies that can generate tons of leads.
The power of PR lies in people having positive perceptions of the brand. Is it something that can happen overnight? We would be lying if we said it can.
PR is a long-term strategy. But once you get it right, the ROI is worth every minute you spend.